Are you and your business COVID-19 crisis ready?
It is generally accepted that any battle plan will not survive first contact - well, first contact is now here and the COVID-19 situation has thrown many of our clients and colleagues into crisis management mode. And while others in the marketplace are shouting that it is all too little too late, this is not true as no-one really knows how long this pandemic will last.
And the most important issue facing business right now is an ability to survive the crisis - albeit 6 minutes, 6 days , 6 weeks or 6 months
This is a two pronged approach for survival - and you have to run both in parallel, coordinating internal and external stakeholders’ responses, as well as planning the crisis communications strategy and effectively tracking organisational reputation.
While some of our clients are facing the relentless 24 hour news cycle, for others it is about brand reputation and image management
And we will offer further dialogue around these aspects in coming days.
In terms of crisis and issues management it's now time to stop and think, lay out a comprehensive roadmap to successfully navigate challenging situations, and work through all possible scenarios. The world has changed and old methods are fast becoming redundant.
Much of the below is based on the fact that you have ALREADY sorted key messaging and media approaches - if that has not yet taken place we will need to work on developing those cornerstones first before committing to any forward-facing actions.
WHO is speaking for you?
Have you developed a list of spokespeople
Has this list been prioritised, and what is Plan B if your key spokesperson contracts COVID-19
How does this roster work
Do you have SME (Subject Matter Experts) who can step in to represent your organisation
Have these people had media experience or been media trained
HOW are they communicating?
Do these people have 'cheat sheets' and up to date notes
Are they clear on their defined roles
Have you got FAQ's on your website
Is their role also a social media commitment..what platform are you using for what purpose
What is the tone of the conversation
Are they doing it from the office or from home
What are they wearing - collar and tie, corporate polo
WHAT is the crisis situation?
How severe is the crisis - rated red, amber, green
Does it effect your directly or indirectly as an organisation
How many people are effected
KEY points for uncertain times
Define your stakeholders
Work out your strategy and delivery timeline
Re-iterate your messages and provide background context
KISS principle - Keep it simple
Refine your messages for easy comprehension for an under-resourced media
Use examples where you can
Prepare, prepare, prepare - do you have EDM's and social media ready to go?
Provide updates where you can
Create a dedicated web page for FAQ's and points of contact
Monitor the media - social and traditional
Seek out internal and external communication support
Update your holding statements to include messaging addressing coronavirus. When you are impacted (like now!) time will be of the essence. Having statements prepared will allow you to move as quickly as possible to share information with key stakeholders.
There is a new reality across the market place - now is the time to invest in your image, as tomorrow will bring more challenges.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any advice around the above - stay healthy, stay relevant.